Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Lemon cupcakes, steak tacos and doulas: A Raleigh pregnancy primer

Note: As my son turns 1 this week, I thought we'd look back on some area birth recommendations we made about a year ago at this time. This was originally posted on March 7, 2012.

My lovely and amazing wife gave birth last week to our third child. (Thank you, thank you.) Whenever something like this happens, it quickly becomes apparent that it's a team effort. (No jokes, please.)

From the time you find out you're pregnant, all the way up to delivery and even beyond, a process like this can only go smoothly if you have the help of many. This time around, like the the first two times, we have had a great support system. I use the present tense because we are continually blown away by the support and generosity of our community -- and we still are. We have been supplied with enough food to feed and army. And, well, a family of 5 already feels like an army! Thank you all very much.

What I want to focus on in this post are the very many positive experiences we had during this pregnancy and delivery. Think of this as a Raleigh Pregnancy Referral post. (And I hope those of you who have recently gone through this in the Raleigh area, or about to, will feel free to post your own thoughts.) This is just one way that we are saying "thank you" to those who helped us through.

Oh, and in case you are wondering, we had a boy.

Our little guy was stubborn; he just did not want to leave the womb and finally was born five days late. When he finally did make an appearance, he weighed a whopping 9 lbs., 11 oz and was 22 1/2 inches long. What that means is that my poor wife was quite uncomfortable in the last weeks; the Little Man also decided to rest on her sciatic nerve.

Had it not been for the services of Cheryl Hamburger at Great Blue Heron Massage in Cary, Charity probably would not have made it as long as she did. Not only did Cheryl provide physical comfort when Charity desperately needed it, but she offered emotional support and thoughtfulness as well. She was a huge help in getting Charity over the hump.

Cheryl Hamburger
Great Blue Heron Massage

200 Commonwealth Ct., Ste. 100, Cary



To be honest, we tried almost all the old wives' tales in order to get the baby here. Charity tried stretching and walking, which was hard because of the sciatic nerve. Nada. We once again tried eating at Dos Taquitos (the Creedmoor Road one), to no avail. (We are 1-for-3 using this "method." Still, the steak tacos are phenomenal.) We even tried Castor oil, bless her heart. I'll just leave it at that.

Charity's good friend in Charlottesville noted that there is a bakery in C-ville that makes a lemon cupcake that is legendary for sending women into labor. Well, I certainly wasn't going to make the multi-hour trip to Charlottesville for a cupcake, even though I do love presidential history. We went for the next-best local thing. The Cupcake Shoppe on Glenwood Avenue happened to have a lemon cupcake on February 29, so I picked one up. The nice woman behind the counter had never heard this theory; in fact, one of the store's decorators is pregnant. I told them I would let them know if the cupcake did, in fact, send Charity into labor.

At about 2 a.m. on March 1, my wife's water broke and it was "go" time. Now, it could completely have been a coincidence -- she was five days overdue, after all. But the fact remains: Charity ate a lemon cupcake, and a few hours later she went into labor. For that, we say thank you, Cupcake Shoppe.

The Cupcake Shoppe
104 Glenwood Ave., Raleigh




One of the coolest gifts we received as a baby shower gift was the services of FirstMomentsOnline.com of Chapel Hill. FirstMoment's Mark Terry came to the hospital after the baby was born and took some of the first photos and videos (below) of the little guy. He got shots of our older kids with him; shots of grandparents; and some good family group photos. While some folks may have anxiety about having a stranger in your hospital room snapping photos for an hour or so, I must say it was such a relief to not have to worry about it myself.

The final products are amazing. First of all, Mark sent out an email announcement with photos to our email distribution list -- that's one thing we were relieved to not have to deal with. In addition, FirstMoments put together a video and photo slideshow -- both with songs we chose. Mark was extremely easy to work with, and we wish we had had his services when our older children had been born.

Mark Terry





We had never entertained the thought of using a doula with our first two pregnancies, but we were introduced to Ashley Collins of Birth Right in Durham. Without getting too graphic, I'll put it this way. My wife delivered sans drugs this time around, and it wouldn't have been possible without Ashley with her the entire time. (I'd like to think some credit can come to moi, but I know better; Ashley was the X-Factor for Delivery No. 3.) And when I say the entire time, I mean it. She was already waiting for us at Rex when we arrived. She helped explain things that we didn't quite understand from the nurses, she showed me some massage techniques for when the contractions were unbearable, and she even got us drinks when we needed them. But more importantly, Ashley was a rock of support for Charity during the final moments of labor. She even stuck around for a while after delivery, helping us get moved to our recovery room and offering even more support. We could not have gotten through this process without Ashley. Thank you!

Ashley Collins

Birth Right Doula Services



Where to begin? We are so blessed in this area to have such a top-notch hospital like Rex. With one small exception* we had a fantastic experience. (Well, I guess you can't call delivering a baby "fantastic," but you catch my drift.) The nurses were understanding and supportive, the facilities were clean and comfortable, and the food was even quite good. Apparently Rex hired a full-fledged chef a few years ago, which would explain the yummy food. We do not plan on having Baby No. 4, but if we were, we would have him or her at Rex.

*Whether it's someone learning how to get blood out of her arm, or someone learning how to do an exam, my wife always seems to get stuck with students. This time around we had a new nurse who had a hard time getting the monitor around Charity's belly to listener trainer) poking and adjusting around Charity. C'est la vie. Guess they gotta learn somehow, right?

Dr. March has now delivered all three of our beautiful children. He is a pleasant man to be around, and he truly cares for his patients - both adult and kids. He is a man of strong faith, which is something we value in a doctor. The fact that he IS the practice may turn some people off, but we have found it refreshing. He has always been available for Charity, and the fact that we are 99% likely to have him deliver the baby and not some stranger from within a practice is comforting. If you don't have an OB and want a fantastic doctor and human being, call Dr. March.

Dr. Michael March

4414 Lake Boone Trail, St. 311, Raleigh



By the way, here was how we announced our pregnancy about seven months ago. As you'll see, Little Man was a few days late. Enjoy.

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